Singapore

Progressive Wage Model for food services, retail within 2 to 3 years

NTUC hopes to boost earnings of about 70,000 low-wage workers

The labour movement hopes to implement the progressive wage model (PWM) for the food services and retail sectors in the next two to three years, to boost the earnings of about 70,000 low-wage workers.

This will nearly double the coverage of the model, which is currently mandatory in the outsourced sectors of cleaning, security and landscape maintenance, and covers about 80,000 workers.

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) also wants to roll out the PWM in the near future to the strata management, pest management and solar technology sectors, said its deputy secretary-general Koh Poh Koon.

This could potentially benefit 5,000 workers in strata management and up to 3,000 workers in pest management, said Dr Koh during yesterday's Budget debate. He did not give an estimate for the solar technology sector.

While most workers in the strata management sector are not low-wage earners, a PWM will ensure better wage progression and prospects as the outsourcing nature of the industry has led to some wage stagnation, he said.

Discussions on a PWM for the solar technology sector have started, while talks with the pest management sector will begin this year, with NTUC aiming to submit a proposal to the Ministry of Manpower by the middle of the year.

Dr Koh also urged the Government and employers to consider implementing a "vocational PWM" for lower-wage occupations - such as those of clerks and logistics drivers - that cut across multiple sectors, through the skills frameworks already in place.

PRIORITIES

The labour movement's calls to speed up the expansion of the PWM echoed that of its chief Ng Chee Meng, who laid out NTUC's priorities for this year last Thursday.

Introduced in 2012, the PWM is a wage ladder that sets out the minimum monthly salary for local low-wage workers based on their skills and training.

It will be mandatory in the lift and escalator maintenance sector next year for up to 2,400 workers, while a PWM for the waste management sector is in the works for up to 3,000 workers.

Yesterday, Dr Koh noted that the PWM has led to wage growth of about 30 per cent in the cleaning, security and landscaping maintenance sectors over the last five years, compared with a 24 per cent wage growth for workers at the 20th percentile in the same period.

Singapore Politics